Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Social Pornography

On his blog, my friend Matt pointed out this intriguing quote from Alan Hirsch:
If male porn has to do with looking at people’s private parts, the female version has to do with looking at people’s private lives. We call this ’social pornography.’ It fills women’s gossip magazines and does enormous damage to the women addicted to them…if women insist on men not looking at Penthouse, we suggest that women might want to give up on People magazine as well. Either way, unredeemed male and female sexuality is a major cause of human brokenness and a major reason why many walk away from following Jesus.
I've heard this argument before and for the most part, I agree with it. But since I am not a woman I can't say for sure. Any ladies out there want to comment on this?


  1. I don't really know whether I agree or not. I think the thing that is the saddest (most sad - whatever!) is that in an attempt to get women to see their everyday behavior as sin or with the same severity as other sins we have to try to label it as 'porn'. I think this is also an attempt to "level the playing field" of traditionally male vs. female struggles. The truth is all sin is equally evil in God's sight. Looking at porn is sin. Lust after romance is sin, Gossip is sin. It doesn't matter by how much you miss the mark, if you miss. We should all simply be aware of those things in our lives which are sin.

  2. That's a great point Joanna. Thanks.

  3. Yeah, this is an intriguing quote, to say the least, and a thought I've definitely heard and even resisted agreeing with before...because well, confession: if there is a People around, I totally want to read it. Why? Mostly, I feel like my motivation to read it is because I just want something to distract me on the treadmill at the gym, and well, anything is better than looking at that ticking clock while I try to crank out some miles. And in that case, is it really "porn" to me, or would it fall into that category of permissible, but probably not the most beneficial, given its contents? Will my looking at its contents, even sporadically, inevitably lead to sin? I'm not always inclined to think so. That is the part of me that wants to resist putting the two in the same category...

    HOWEVER, I realize there are holes in that very small argument, and, as a woman, I definitely want to acknowledge that the inclination to take a peek into the lives of others--whether celebrity or not--IS, in fact, a real temptation that is often easily justified because of its wide social acceptability, to name just one reason, but could certainly be identified as sin. And like Joanna said, sin is sin! And truly, the battle against sin--either the sin of wanting to feast on what is not my business, or the sin of comparing myself to others (which leads only to pride or self-loathing) is hard enough to fight in our every day life; why on earth would I want to fan that flame by reading or looking at something that ultimately does NOT affirm my standing as a daughter of Christ, and doesn't really help me love God or others any better. Seems like tossing out the People should be a no-brainer...b/c well, if its feeding either of those things, it really is like "porn"...

    I was reading something by Tim Keller the other day that said this: "Every sin is rooted in the inordinate lust for something which comes because we are trusting in [or looking to] that thing rather than in Christ for our righteousness or salvation or [satisfaction]. At the moment we sin it is because we are looking to something to give us only what Jesus can give us. Beneath any particular sin is the general sin of rejecting Christ-salvation and indulging self-salvation."

    Why do men turn to porn? I guess because it offers an immediate "thrill" and "sense" of love and passion without the fear of rejection or admission of their own vulnerability; because it lets them imagine and indulge in what is not reality, either as an escape or as an attempt to feed an insatiable lust for pleasure, power, etc. Why do women turn to romance movies and magazines and novels? For a lot of the same reasons--and ultimately, because there is the want for validation or love--love that is hidden beneath a lust for something immediate, something that does not seem costly, but is just a shallow and counterfeit disguise to the real thing.

    And well, if a People magazine--or whatever--is that "thing" for me, or any woman, that "thing" which drives me away, or could even potentially drive me away from resting in and recognizing the truth of Christ...then yes, I would agree with him!

  4. omg. sorry, that was crazy long!

  5. Thanks LT. Great thoughts.